By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 03/07/2012
Today's big news was the new iPad, but Apple kicked things off with an upgrade to the Apple TV. It was a minor update, supporting 1080p, rather than the "cracking" that Steve Jobs alluded to in the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. If you're not concerned about the new higher resolution, the previous generation is available at a bargain basement $69 price if you don't mind a refurb and if you can get through to the Apple Store! I've bought refurbished Apple products (including an Apple TV) and aside from the packaging, you get a like new product at a great deal. In fact, while placing my order for a new iPad, I added a $99 refurbished iPad nano which will find a home on my wrist.
The Apple TV is great, especially with the iPad 2 and new iPad's mirroring capability. You can push the screen (or an alternate screen with apps like Real Racing 2) to the TV for console-style gaming or presentations. It's wireless (or via Ethernet if you have a wire near your TV, as I do) and works fairly seamlessly.
The Apple TV supports typical activities like Netflix, YouTube, Photo slideshows, iTunes purchase and rental and view media from your connected Macs.
The Apple TV even comes with an Apple Remote which normally sells for $19 and can work with your MacBook. Since you can program the Apple TV to respond to any remote (as opposed to using a universal remote and teaching that remote how to behave like the Apple remote) you might not need that sleek bundled aluminum Apple Remote. I programmed my Logitech Harmony Remote to pretend as if the Apple TV is an LG DVD player, and then told the Apple TV to accept remote control signals from an LG remote, and voila, everything works. And you can use Apple's free Remote app on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad which makes text entry easy. And I keep my Apple Remote in my laptop bag for presentations on my MacBook.